A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS! Oh, my God! Pack up the babies, grab the old ladies! Hide the sheep, and break out the likker, the end is nigh! You gotta admit, those three words sound like nothing other than Orson Welles frantically describing the end of civilization in his iconic “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast.
Politicians actually love the “sound of a constitutional crisis, for the simple reason that they can fund raise off of it. Also, it makes their political egos swell like watching them pump helium into the Trump Baby Blimp, they can scare the shit out of us, while looking just solemn enough to portray the kind of calm steely leadership required to get us out of this mess.
Democratic congress critters and most media pundits have been proclaiming that we’ve been in a constitutional crisis ever since Willie “The Ewok” Barr took his Mueller report ball and went home. But the simple fact of the matter is that we aren’t in one, at least, not yet anyway.
By definition, a constitutional crisis only occurs when we stumble into an issue that the constitution itself has no remedy for. This ain’t it. Barr has refused to honor subpoenas issued by House committees to turn over unredacted copies of the Mueller report, and Steve
Munchkin Mnuchin is refusing to turn over Trump’s felonious tax returns. That isn’t a constitutional crisis, because there’s a constitutional remedy for it, and the Democrats in congress are following that remedy. Mainly, you go to court and get a judge to force The-Hole-In-The-Head-Gang to comply with the law.
But mark you calendars for May 31st, because, that’s the day when we could finally find ourselves in what our duly elected members of congress have been predicting, and drooling over the possibility of, for months, a flat out, full bore, accept no substitutes constitutional crisis.
Because apparently Judge Emmett Sullivan, currently overseeing the Michael Flynn case, has had enough of Barr’s piddly ass attempts to play hide-the-sausage. Sullivan is the judge that shocked Flynn into a bout of incontinence by blowing up his sentencing hearing, bluntly telling him that his “ci-operation” with Mueller did little to offset his treasonous behavior, and if he didn’t pony up some more, Sullivan had a hammer and a pile of rocks with his name on it.
Well, yesterday Sullivan set the table for a true constitutional crisis. He gave Barr and the DOJ until May 31st to provide a transcript of an audio recording turned over by Flynn with a conversation between a Trump personal lawyer, and Flynn’s lawyer, regarding Flynn’s dropping out of his joint defense agreement with team Trump, and threatening retaliation. Not only that, but he has ordered that all redactions regarding the Flynn case be removed, and giving the DOJ until May 31st to have an unredacted, public facing copy of the report posted on the court docket by then.
There’s your constitutional crisis right there. Up to this moment, the Trump administration answer to every congressional request, demand, order, and subpoena for anything related to Trump or Mueller has been to stonewall it, flip it off. But how do you blow off a judicial order? If judge orders you to pay child support and you flip him double barrel birds, a couple of cops haul you off to durance vile until you cough up the dough. If you fail to pay enough speeding and parking tickets, they boot your car. If you welsh on your taxes, they garnish your paycheck and take away your house.
But how does a judge enforce his ruling against another branch of the United States government for failure to comply with a judicial order? Does he issue an arrest warrant for Barr for contempt of court? And if so, do the court officers get into an actual shoot out with Barr’s security detail when they show up to haul him off to the clink? What exactly is the redress when a branch of the government openly defies the orders of another branch that literally has the power of authority over it. There’s your constitutional crisis right there, because there is no constitutional remedy for it, the brazenness of it was never considered when the constitution was drafted.
Personally, I believe that if Barr, at Trump’s order, refuses to comply with the order, and forces the crisis, that is what will bring him down. Trump has gotten away with all of his shit for so long simply because we tolerate it, and it’s all stuff we ourselves would try if we thought we could get away with it because we’re rich. But none of us would ever even dream of defying a court order, there are some lines that you just don’t cross, and turning our country into a lawless society just isn’t ne of them. We like the idea that if we call the cops because the neighbors stereo is blasting at 2 am, they’ll turn it off when the cops show up. We like the idea that if we sue some guy for totaling our car, the insurance company will pony up the dough when the judge bangs his gave, and not tell him to go fuck himself. If Trump starts defying court orders, you’ll see public sentiment fo through the roof for his impeachment, because that’s just a bridge too far.
So, mark your calendars for May 31st, 2019. Because those of you who have spent the last couple of months forecasting the constitutional end-of-days may be about to have ringside seats for the political apocalypse. Don’t touch that dial.
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